Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Letter/Update 2014!

Merry Christmas to all!

Bowling on Christmas Eve

Lots o action in the past year for us Arthur's. New address. New job for Scott.  New promotion for me (additional responsibilities i.e. new baby in 2015 = promotion for this stay-at-home mom! P.S. Where's the accompanying raise?). New school for kids. New decade of marriage for us.

Lots of sameness, too. We still love each other very much, look for ways to become increasingly involved in our community, desire for personal and spiritual growth at every turn, work hard to keep our bodies young, attempt to teach our offspring what it means to be good people, struggle to get laundry folded and in drawers, and are very, very, very tired. :) 

Our seven year old 1st grader has shifted to a more introverted soul. Although he absolutely enjoys play dates and the social side of life, the all-day school schedule leaves him hungering for time in his room and in our home enjoying art projects and quiet make-believing during free time. He still surprises us with the other-world-ness of his depth, sensitivity, empathy, and self-knowledge at such a young age, making comments such as "I just wish I could dive into love and stay there awhile" or, after a frightening trip down a tubing hill, "Well, now I know what to expect: fear. I think I"ll pass on the next run." CHALLENGE: Teaching Jackson how to manage and healthily direct his emotions.

Our five year old kindergartener had a LOT of growing up to do over the summer. In Ohio, we had planned to have him hang back an additional year in his safe, cozy, tight-knit special education preschool class come this past Fall. When we moved to Colorado, the options changed, and he had to get his backpack packed for full-day big boy kindergarten! Sullivan LOVES it. His language development (speech has always been his challenge) continues to grow and his new claim to fame is discovering his funny side (according to teachers) and discovering success with it with the ladies (father's child much???) :) What we love about Sullivan is that he wants to do everything fully and well (read: attention to detail) and that he generally is up for anything.  CHALLENGE: Teaching Sullivan that aggravating Anderson puts him on the naughty list and that his own self-created rules and legalisms are not ones that EVERYONE is required to follow.

Our two year old "play schooler" is a mess. A complete and total mess. His smile is as large as life and his scream is as large as life. He is fun, demanding, playful, destructive, affectionate, aggressive, loving, and disobedient. The umbrella quality for all moods is a very, very HIGH ENERGY disposition. We simply do not understand; aren't subsequent kids supposed to adopt a mellow and easy-going spirit? Example: He repeatedly screams 'READY TO GO' in the car at every single intersection where the stoplight has the nerve to be red. Because of said Anderson-ness (coupled with a pregnant mamma), we decided - for the first time - to send a child to school at the early age of 2. He goes twice a week to a local church's little school and thrives. Anderson loves his family and wants to constantly be included and engaged in anything and everything mom, dad, or brother Arthurs are doing and does so non-silently. We love him. Challenge: Teaching Anderson patience and that he is not the center of the universe (baby-is-going-to-rock-his-world).

Campbell Joy: Everyone suggests that this baby girl is going to be spoiled. I refused the possibility until we were selecting trinkets to bring back to our kids while on a trip away. We found appropriate little gifts for each boy under $5. BUT THEN THERE WAS THIS LITTLE BABY GIRL DRESS for $20. Let it begin. :) Thus far, she is active in my belly and seemingly already puts up with her brother's roughness: she appears un-harmed by accidental jabs and kicks and jumps thrusted upon her temporary home, natural consequences of parenting three boys. We are all extremely excited and extremely scared about her arrival in March. Will we make it? Challenge: Teaching Campbell to let her mother sleep in a comfortable position.

Scott: Scott is thrilled to have been offered the position as Vice Chancellor of Advancement at the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus and thrilled to be surviving it. :) The learning curve has been insanely steep and his involvement in big decisions, big problem-solving, and big ideas has kept that hungering mind of his very, very fed. Scott continues to run, often found with his little miner light and leggings on in the wee hours of the morning, fending off coyotes (no joke - he saw one once!). He is grateful for a 10 year anniversary trip to Cancun, Mexico, sans kids, with his wife in November where long, uninterrupted conversations transpired on beach walks and the biggest decision of his day was which all-inclusive restaurant to hit up that night. He/we soaked up every moment, because the next opportunity for a couple-only trip will be just about right around never. Challenge: Squeezing it all in: making family, work, and personal wellness ALL priorities.

Tricia: Tricia has handled the move, house-renovation, pregnancy, and social transition quite well, if she does say so herself. :) Truly, I want to share that my relationship with God and the surrender of ALL THINGS (control, worry, fear, plans, emotions) to Him has been the explanation for any moments of sanity or peace. As always, I remain fascinated by faith. And the growth opportunities this year have abounded in that department. The neighborhood we (read: our realtor) selected for us (Sundance Hills) is an extraordinary fit with friendliness abounding from our neighbors and new friends. The elementary school, pool, and playground are each a walk away and invites to a new book club and mommy-only-play-dates are among the things I am thankful for here in our new digs. Challenge: Re-incorporating exercise into non-pregnant life and providing a healthy slice of parent attention to each kiddo. Spring shall be interesting!

And, finally, it should seem clear that we have developed a habit of making and breaking traditions (I announced two years ago that our holiday letter delivery would shift to Groundhogs Day annually, then missed last Feb -- I announced last year that our gift-giving would come in the form of "Top New THREE THINGS/products" our family came to love over the previous year and then tossed that one out the window). Therefore, I will not promise any follow-up. But, this year, I'd like to toss out a few of our family favorites... may give you insights into our daily lives:

2014 Favorites:

Recipe: Honey Lime Enchiladas

Humor-maker: Emily McDowell's cards, sayings, and prints (thanks for introducing, Marie!)... if you ask me, EVERYONE ought to have the following posted somewhere (not for young eyes):

Snack food: Laughing Cow Soft Swiss was included in our Welcome Basket by the temporary living agency that found us our, well, temporary living the first 8 weeks we resided in CO. Had not tried it before. I. CANNOT. GET. ENOUGH.

Inspiration: "Jesus Calling" Devotional by Sarah Young... It was given to me last Christmas by my aunt (thanks, Aunt Lisa!) and the short, yet profound messages encouraging both gratefulness and surrender assisted a great deal in 2014! 

Music: "Multiplied" by NEEDTOBREATHE, "Magic" by Coldplay, and "I'm Not The Only One" by Sam Smith... for the record, we are still obsessed with SPOTIFY (give it a month free if curious).

Kid chapter book: The Secret Zoo by Brian Chick... Jackson was fascinated by first book in series... on second now!

Novels: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult.

Toys/GamesRush Hour 

and Story Cubes 

Fast dinner: Still Chipotle and Papa Murphys

TV Shows: Still stuck on both Grey's Anatomy (I know - we are loyal) and Parenthood (last season this yr! go back and start from the beginning if you are new to it). Recently, we can't get enough of "Big Bang" and will plunge into "Downton Abbey" in January.

Much, much joy from Colorado... As always, we are grateful for our loved ones and your continuous support of us and this Arthur Adventure we are on. No matter what state (as in the U.S. kind AND as in the emotional kind) we find ourselves in, our dear friends are always in our hearts. 

Scott, Tricia, Jackson, Sullivan, Anderson, and Campbell Joy Arthur

Scott and Tricia in Cancun, MX celebrating 10 YEARS of marriage!

Boys during our first wkd trip to "the mountains" (VAIL!)

Friday, November 7, 2014

A decade with this goof

There's my guy. My Scotty-Too-Hotty. My bestest supporter, joker, and listener. The one, when I first shared that there was interest in this guy to my parents, I described as, "witty and playful." He's still witty and playful, all these years later. And I love him more now than ever before.

Happy 10th Anniversary (celebrated on Oct 30th) and Happy Cancun (leaving in two days!!!). 
I love you, Scott.

Monday, October 27, 2014


Yesterday was October 26th. And this is the day 7yrs ago when we lost our sweet warrior, Duncan Rann Arthur. This year hit us hard. Scott and I both admitted yesterday to feeling particularly emotional and melancholy. Perhaps it is because we are further away from Duncan, unable to visit his grave in Columbus or his magical tree at the Park of Roses. Perhaps it is because the older boys, Jackson and Sullivan, were more involved and aware yesterday than in previous years (they both really took interest in going through pictures and Duncan's memorabilia), like we were sort of experiencing the loss through them. Perhaps is it because I am pregnant. And at about that same spot in the pregnancy when we learned of Duncan's heart condition.

In any case, the day was exactly what it needed to be for each of us. We shared. We teared up. We remembered. We told stories. We were taken back to that time, thankful to all the people who loved us alongside the sadness and thankful to Duncan for the lessons he taught us and the ways we have been transformed as a result.

That. Was. Yesterday.

And today. Today was about revealing a whole new chapter of our family existence. Today was about life. And newness. And what lies ahead. At 19 weeks, today was when we had the anatomy ultra sound for baby.

So I went to bed last night in one place. And I woke up this morning in another. 

Kinda strange, actually, to feel that polar. And there was a thin thread of sadness and anxiousness that connected the two... one which left us slightly panicky, despite the enthusiasm and excitement, during the technician's examination of the four chambers of the heart, the measurements of the skull, the extra notation about the nose and back-of-neck due to the fact that I am over 35, the pinpointing of the kidneys, bowel, spine, femur... Once you know all the ways a baby can be unhealthy, it's hard to assume that the one growing inside of you is perfectly healthy. 

But that is what happened today. Once I got all my goop off, the doc entered the room with the immediate news that ours was a very boring, normal ultra sound and that baby was healthy and growing perfectly. Sweet relief! Boring! We like boring! Scott's body language let out a breath... his lungs did, but so did his whole entire body.

And now for the part we have all been waiting for: WHAT WAS BETWEEN THE LEGS???

Will Scott drink from a glass of blue milk or pink milk??

Take a moment to watch the gender reveal clip below to get your answer:

Well, sheesh. We had this cute little moment (filmed) with Jackson, Sullivan, and Anderson looking on to discover which glass Daddy would drink from. But it's not uploading right. Trust me, it's cute.










Friday, October 17, 2014

Excited and Frightened...

I am both wildly excited and wildly frightened by the POTENTIAL (**we do not know gender yet**) prospect of giving birth to a baby girl.

Why am I processing about this?

Well, cuz, with an offspring track record such as mine (boy after boy after boy), the most predictable question I get asked on the playground, in the grocery store, on the soccer field, in the gymnastics waiting area, on walks... is, "So, are you so hoping it's a girl?"

And I should probably skip the real answer and just simply say, "yes, of course!" which is sorta kinda true. But the more accurate answer takes longer. And even though asker really didn't plan to get an earful, I proceed anyway in explaining that my feelings on the gender topic are mixed.

1) First off, easy - in life right at the moment - is good. Hard is harder and badder. So when I think about what I know -  it's how to be a mother to a boy. I know how to talk to a boy, how to discipline a boy, how to rough house with a boy, how to host boy playdates... And then when I think about what the rest of lil Arthurs know - it's how to include boy Arthur siblings. Jackson, Sullivan, and Anderson have only known brothers. They get how to be a sibling to a brother. They breathe, speak, eat, dream "BOY."

So no matter how you look at it, adding a girl life into this crazy Arthur household is going to require "more" than what we know how to be right now. And more = harder. And, as aforementioned, harder = badder. :) Truly, not really, but that's how it seems as our bustling family is already rather FULL.

2) I do not wish, in any way, to pass the buck on raising well-adjusted offspring, because - after all - I am around the lil dudes the majority of the time during the day. BUT - I have always held the belief that it is the same-gendered parent who best is able to model for the kiddo what it means to be an awesome adult male/female. For my boys, Scott is sorta THE MAN responsible for teaching them all the ins and outs of being THE MAN.

I feel like an insecure 3rd grader when I begin thinking about how intimidating it is to be THE WOMAN responsible for modeling how to be a healthy, balanced, mature WOMAN for my daughter.  Basically, I don't want to be looked up to. :) It feels scary and overwhelming. I'm sure I'd get over myself and return to my 35-yr-old emotional self (instead of the third grade emotional self I seem to be sporting surrounding this topic now), but if I'm being honest with myself, I am just plain paralyzed by the pressure.

3) I really thought there was a 3 or else I wouldn't have numbered in the first place. If it comes to me, I'll get back to ya.

October 27th is when either I will process more about this journey or consider it a closed subject. Cuz that's when we find out this little bambino's gender! YIPPEE! Suspense will be over. I must say, I DO love the suspense. Best part. Besides the birth.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Before/After Shots


BEFORE: Standing in front foyer looking into formal living
AFTER: new flooring, new paint, banisters painted



BEFORE: Foyer straight ahead to stairway                             
AFTER - huge diff :)


BEFORE: Standing in formal living looking onto former formal dining

AFTER: new built-ins, new flooring, new paint, new fan


BEFORE: Doorway from dining to kitchen                          
AFTER: New tile, new paint on cabinets, 
new appliances
BEFORE: Kitchen to eat in
IN PROGRESS: wall dividing eat-in kitchen from family room GONE!
AFTER: Wall out and chandelier up!

BEFORE: Kitchen 
AFTER: New paint/fridge

BEFORE: Eat in                      
AFTER: (sorry bout lighting) - shows expanded eat in area


BEFORE: Main floor study                         
      IN PROGRESS: Repurposing study as laundry room; built in new entrance from garage into laundry room... 
IN PROGRESS: Cubbies getting started, floors in
               AFTER: Cubbies!               
  AFTER: Door in!

BEFORE: study
AFTER: Laundry room (sorry bout lighting! it's really bright in there!)


BEFORE: Family room               
AFTER: new floors, new paint, new shelves to right of fireplace
BEFORE: Family room doorway leading to back yard                       
BEFORE: mini bar in family room              

AFTER: Wall gone and bar height counter added